How to use Kindle to work with PDFs

Summary:Early on, Amazon integrated the ability to read PDF documents on Kindle, including an easy way to send them to Kindle devices and apps. Some who use Kindle technology don't know about or forget about this ability.

Kindle Fire HDX 7
Kindle Fire HDX 7 Image: Amazon

Shortly after Amazon released the first Kindle electronic book reader, it decided that owners would benefit from sending personal or business documents to them for reference. This utility was extended to the Kindle apps, available on most every mobile platform.

This is achieved by linking a unique email address to every Kindle, device or app, when it is first activated. Sending a document to the Kindle is as simple as sending an email to that address with the document, usually a PDF, attached. The new document appears in the library alongside ebooks.

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This is a superb way to use PDFs on the Kindle, especially for reference. The Kindle apps handle PDFs very well. It's particularly suited for use with work-related PDF documents.

What makes this so powerful is it is platform independent. There is a Kindle app for nearly every platform, mobile and desktop, which means you can view your PDFs no matter what you are using. Here’s how to make it work.

Send the PDF document to your Kindle or app installation

Manage your Kindle
Manage your Kindle and content.
Kindle email address
Find your Kindle email address.

When you register your Kindle installation it is assigned a unique email address specifically to send documents. This is ******@kindle.com. To find out what it is, go to Amazon.com and find the “Manage your content and devices” section. On the Your Devices tab you’ll find all of your devices and installations of the Kindle app. Tap the one you want to receive your PDF and note the email address.

Attach the PDF to an email to the Kindle

This works like any other email. Attach the PDF you want on the Kindle and send it to the kindle.com email address noted in the last step.

Open the Kindle/app

New PDF on Kindle app

A few minutes after sending the email you will see the PDF in the Kindle library (see above). It should be perfectly captured and viewed just like any Kindle book. You can use bookmarks as in other books but you cannot highlight passages. Kindle gives a useful page view (see below) that you can swipe through and go directly to the desired page by tapping it.

Working with PDF Kindle

More than PDFs

There are many PDF tools available to work with documents, some of which are better than the Kindle method. The latter is free for Kindle users and works well no matter what device or platform you use. This makes it a handy (and simple) tool in the mobile professional’s tool kit.

As useful as this is for business purposes, the Kindle devices and apps can do more than PDFs. According to Amazon you can also send the following file types to Kindle:

  • Microsoft Word doc (DOC, DOCX)
  • HTML
  • RTF
  • JPEG/JPG
  • Kindle format (MOBI, AZW)
  • GIF
  • PNG
  • BMP
  • PDF

Note this method sends the PDF to one instance of Kindle in your account. If you want it on multiple installations, simply email it separately to each one. If you prefer to use native Kindle format instead of PDF simply put "convert" in the subject line of the email to send it to Kindle and it will auto-convert it.

 

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Apple, Smartphones, Tablets, Windows 8

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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